Manchester City 2 Glasgow Celtic 1
Men against Bhoys
Saturday 8th August 2009 : Get Your Kits Out
at the COMSTAD
Craig Bellamy's goal proved the
difference as his current club Manchester City beat Celtic, one of
his old ones, at Eastlands.
After sanctioning a near-£100million summer spending spree, Blues
chairman Khaldoon al-Mubarak was on hand to watch Mark Hughes' men
record the victory that will send them to Blackburn for next
Saturday's Premier League opener believing they can start to match
the hype that has grown around them.
With Carlos Tevez making his debut as a second-half substitute to
partner Emmanuel Adebayor in attack, Hughes' new-look side is
beginning to take shape, even though Kolo Toure lasted only 18
minutes before signalling he could not continue.
The former Arsenal man's exit affected City's rhythm if, ultimately,
not the result, Bellamy scoring five minutes after the restart once
Chris Killen had levelled Gareth Barry's fine effort before
Given the huge amount of change that has taken place at Eastlands in
the past 12 months, one of the aspects it was believed had been shed
was the inconsistency which has dogged City throughout the years.
At the start, City were excellent. Solid defending, swift passing,
excellent work off the ball. When Gareth Barry arrived with perfect
timing to steer home Pablo Zabaleta's cross after 15 minutes it
seemed all would be well with the world. Instead, a crack
Toure, along with Barry the only two of Hughes' six new faces to
start against a Celtic side with only one survivor from the team
that performed so admirably to secure a Champions League clash with
Arsenal by beating Dinamo Moscow on Wednesday, came to the sidelines
to explain he was experiencing discomfort.
A few minutes later Toure was bowing out altogether, replaced by Tal
Given the Israeli appears to have little future under Hughes, it is
no wonder the Welshman has been trying to lure Joleon Lescott from
As David Moyes has shown no willingness to let Lescott leave
Goodison Park, Hughes may have to turn his attentions elsewhere with
some speed if Toure's problem proves to be significant.
The City boss will certainly hope the lacklustre reaction to Toure's
departure is not a sign of things to come.
Giorgios Samaras was dubbed "a rough diamond" when he was brought to
City from Heerenveen for £5.5million by Stuart Pearce three-and-half
It has taken some pretty stiff polishing and a change of clubs to
bring about the first sparkle. But, after the Greek's momentous
injury-time effort in midweek, he responded to his inclusion from
the start by Tony Mowbray with an exquisite pass to Killen.
The one-time City trainee went speeding past Richard Dunne before
lashing a fine shot beyond Shay Given.
As Given had only just tipped a Darren O'Dea effort over the bar it
hardly came against the run of play and from that point until the
break, there was very little finesse from home ranks.
Robinho did fire one long-range effort wide but he was also bundled
off the ball by another former Blues graduate Willo Flood, who is
hardly a giant.
The lack of height in City's front-line seemed like an obvious flaw
and was duly rectified by Hughes when he introduced Adebayor,
sacrificing one of his two holding midfield players in Nigel de Jong.
While Adebayor was not directly involved in City's second goal five
minutes after the restart, his presence had provided Celtic's
defence with a problem, which allowed an old boy who had made the
switch from north to south rather than the other way round to fire
home, Bellamy gleefully finishing off Wayne Bridge's long ball.
Quarter of an hour later, Bellamy gave way to Tevez, who is destined
to become a City hero.
The raucous reception turned out to be the remaining high point as
the contest meandered to its conclusion.
The Celtic fans who made the journey down from Glasgow created a
great atmosphere. If the two Old Firm teams were allowed to play in
the Premier League the game both sides of the border would be well
enhanced with their input. Well done lads, great support and a huge
pay day for the local hostelries and if you could afford it - City's
bar takings too. NOTE - a burger and fruit drink were being
sold in the concourses' today for a very reasonable £7.20 - well
that may be reasonable if you are an oil rich Arab but for me a
bloody big rip off....
Manchester City: Given, Zabaleta, Dunne (c), Toure (Ben-Haim 18),
Bridge, De Jong (Adebayor 46), Barry, Ireland, Wright-Phillips
(Weiss 72), Robinho (Petrov 72), Bellamy (Tevez 65).
Taylor, Richards, Garrido, Etuhu, Vidal, McGivern.
Celtic: Zaluska, Naylor (Fox 77), Caddis (Hinkel 68), O'Dea,
McCourt, Donati, Flood (McGinn 76), Crosas (McGeady 68), Killen
(McDonald 60), Mizuno (Fortuna 60), Samaras (Conroy 76).
Brouc, N'Guemo, Ferry. att.
Glasgow Rangers 3 Manchester
Wednesday 5th August 2009 : Alan McCardle
David Weir grabbed a
last-minute winner as Rangers enjoyed a successful first outing at
Ibrox since clinching the domestic double with an impressive victory
against big-spending Manchester City.
With Champions League action looming next month, fears had been
raised about Rangers' hopes of competing with the cream of Europe
following their capitulation to Arsenal, with boss Walter Smith
admitting Sunday's clash had been a sharp learning curve for his
But goals from Nacho Novo, Kenny Miller and Weir ensured the
Scottish champions came out on top, with Stephen Ireland and Martin
Petrov on the scoresheet for a team who have spent in the region of
£90million this summer.
John Fleck was back in the Rangers squad after being dropped for the
Emirates Cup but had to settle for a place among the substitutes.
The 17-year-old - who had a bust-up with assistant manager Ally
McCoist before being sent to Northern Ireland with the reserves -
was joined on the bench by Kris Boyd, with striking duties going to
Neil Alexander was back between the sticks after Allan McGregor was
given the gloves for the 3-0 defeat to Arsenal at the weekend, which
had been his first start since his role in the now infamous "Boozegate"
In contrast to Manchester City's apparently limitless budget, money
remains tight at Rangers with no sign as yet of any new arrivals,
while their visitors started with three new recruits in the shape of
Gareth Barry, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure at Ibrox.
Alexander was first to be tested, holding a stinging shot from
distance from Ireland in the opening minutes of the match.
However, it was Rangers who should have opened the scoring when
Steven Davis slipped a neat pass to Novo only for the striker to
drive across goal and wide of target.
The Spaniard was given the opportunity to make amends and, with 20
minutes gone, the Scottish champions were ahead.
Miller began the move before Lee McCulloch teed up the shot for
Novo, who scuffed his initial attempt. The ball fell for Sasa Papac
who knocked back into the path of Novo and, this time, he rifled
high into the net from six yards.
City were back on level terms just eight minutes later. Adebayor
delivered a cross into the box for Ireland and his shot, albeit far
from powerful, managed to scrape past the outstretched hand of
Alexander into the far corner of the net.
Adebayor then had the opportunity to double the Barclays Premier
League side's advantage but dragged his shot wide of the upright as
both teams headed into the interval on level terms.
Rangers had the best of the chances after the restart, with Pedro
Mendes flighting a long ball into the path of Steven Whittaker as he
raced into the box from the right flank only to be robbed of
possession by Wayne Bridge before he could unleash the shot.
Novo then delivered a great ball across the face of goal for Miller
but he somehow managed to blast well over the crossbar from a few
The same two players combined again moments later but this time
Miller stumbled in the box under pressure from Bridge and, despite
the pleas for a penalty from the home crowd, referee Craig Thomson
signalled for play to continue and the chance was lost.
Seconds later, City surged into the lead with 53 minutes on the
clock. Robinho pinged a ball into the box from the middle of the
park which was collected by substitute Petrov, who lashed past the
Undeterred, Rangers hauled themselves level again within two minutes
with a superb goal, Miller latching onto a Davis ball before
cheekily lobbing goalkeeper Shay Given.
That proved to be Miller's last act and he was withdrawn on the
hour-mark along with Novo, as Kyle Lafferty and Boyd were thrown
into the action.
City made a change of their own when former Celtic player Craig
Bellamy was introduced to jeers from the crowd, before Fleck
received a mixed reaction when he replaced Mendes.
The home side snatched victory in the final minute when skipper Weir
fired home following a poor clearance from Tal Ben-Haim, with
Rangers undoubtedly now more optimistic about the defence of their
crown, which begins against Falkirk on August 15.
Rangers: Alexander, Weir, Papac, Naismith (Velicka, 72), Bougherra,
Mendes (Fleck, 72), McCulloch (Niguez 83), Whittaker, Davis, Miller
(Boyd 56), Novo (Lafferty 56).
Manchester City: Given, Richards, Toure, Dunne, Bridge, De Jong (Zabaleta
46), Barry (Petrov 46), Ireland (Ben Haim, 66), Etuhu, Robinho
(Weiss, 80), Adebayor (Bellamy, 72).
Taylor, McGivern, Clayton, Vidal.
Barnsley 1 Manchester City 1
Saturday 01 August 2009: Ken Cooper for GYKO at the Oakwell Stadium
In a match that Barnsley were
relying on a severe testing in readiness for their Championship
campaign that starts next week, keeper Luke Steele came to the fore
with some outstanding saves.
During the first half City showed great promise in hitting the bar
twice and in the main dominating proceedings.
Toure (pictured right holding off old City favourite Jon Macken) was
given his first outing in the sky blue shirt but limped off to be
replaced by the promising McGiven, yet another academy product
who looks like making the grade.
Slack defending however led to Barnsley taking a 84th minute lead
when sub Bogdanovic fired a superbly hit low shot beyond Givenís
City had to shape themselves to avoid an embarrassing defeat and
were rewarded when Bellamy hit a shot across the box for Petrov to
side foot home from close in.
All in all a good work out for City but they will have to be a bit
sharper when they visit Glasgow on Wednesday to face Rangers and
then Celtic on Saturday.
Barnsley : Steele, Hassell, Kozluk, Moore, Foster, Devaney
(Noble Lazarus 83), Campbell-Ryce (Sodje 87), Butterfield, Odejayi
(Hume 71), Macken (Bogdanovic 71), OíNeil Thompson.
Preece, El Haimour, Adam, Hibbert and Coulson
City : Given, Richards, Toure (McGivern 65mins), Onuoha (Ben Haim
46mins), Garrido (Zabaleta 46mins); Wright-Phillips (Weiss 69mins),
De Jong, Ireland, Robinho, Bellamy, Adebayor (Petrov 77).
Taylor, Vidal and Etuhu
Jon Moss (West Yorkshire
Kaizer Chiefs 1 Manchester City 0
Trophy Cabinet For Sale condition - unused
Saturday 25th July 2009
New signing Emmanuel Adebayor
failed to inspire Manchester City's stars as the Premier League side
slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Kaizer Chiefs in Pretoria.
More than 30,000 fans turned up at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium to
watch the game, but were let down by a below-par City, who ended
their tour to South Africa on a low - they lost two and won one
match in the Vodacom Challenge tournament.
In the end it was Jeffrey Ntuka's effort minutes before half-time
that proved the difference between the two sides.
Former Arsenal striker Adebayor, one of City's biggest summer
signings, was handed a first start by Mark Hughes, while another
new-boy Gareth Barry also played alongside the likes of Shay Given,
Nigel de Jong, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Craig Bellamy.
CITY: Given, Vidal (Ben Haim
16), Dunne (Zabaleta 36), Onuoha (Weiss 73), Bridge, Barry, de Jong,
Wright-Phillips, Petrov (Robinho 58), Bellamy, Adebayor.
Subs: Taylor, Etuhu, Bojinov.
CHIEFS: Khune, Mmbooi, Jambo, Rooi, Sweswe, Ntuka, Bulu, Mathebula,
Nhleko, Yende, Lebese.
Subs: Torrealba, Nahayo, Ngobeni, Sibeko, Zwane, Musona, Molekwane,
Dladla, Nengomasha, Masenamela, Masango, Nale.
Kaizer Chiefs 0 Manchester City 1
City Youngsters rise to the challenge
Tuesday 21st July 2009
Manchester City handed a debut
to new signing Gareth Barry but it was an Eastlands old boy who
clinched the winner as the Blues posted a hard-fought victory in the
second match of their South African tour.
Watched by new signing Emmanuel Adebayor, City recovered from their
weekend loss to Orlando Pirates with a 1-0 triumph against Kaizer
Chiefs, academy product Stephen Ireland hitting the winner on the
stroke of half-time at the ABSA Stadium in Durban.
Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz were again left to watch from the
sidelines as City manager Mark Hughes continued to exercise patience
with his high-profile summer signings.
The first half was an even affair but City made the decisive
breakthrough in the closing seconds when Kelvin Etuhu's low cross
was converted from close range by midfielder Ireland. City had
started strongly and put the hosts on the back foot early on before
the hosts hit back towards the end of the half. Barry, wearing the
number eight jersey made a good impression in his first game with an
energetic display. The former Aston Villa player was all over the
park, solidifying the defence when possible and troubling the
Chiefs' backline with several runs.
Zambian referee Wellington Kaoma allowed the game to flow and only
needed to reach for his card when City's Felipe Caicedo kicked the
ball away in frustration when an advantage was not given after a
foul on Wright-Phillips.
In the second half, City started where they had left off but Barry
marred his debut with a 54th-minute yellow card following a late
challenge. The England player's interest in the game ended soon
after when he was replaced by Javal Vidal with 26 minutes remaining.
There were few chances in the closing stages but City had a let-off
with nine minutes to go when Chiefs striker Kaizer Motaung Jr failed
to find the target when well placed 15 yards out. The home side
continued to apply the pressure in the final 10 minutes with several
shots going astray, as City's defence tired.
Despite being hopeful of involving Tevez in this game, Hughes opted
to leave the Argentinian striker out, as well as fellow new boys
Adebayor and Santa Cruz.
Orlando Pirates 2
Manchester City 0
City Go Down in Africa
Saturday 18th July 2009
Manchester City kept their high-profile signings out of sight as
they slumped to a 2-0 defeat against Orlando Pirates.
Carlos Tevez and Roque Santa Cruz were not even named on the bench
for the match at the Peter Mokaba Stadium in Polokwane, South
And Gareth Barry, although named as a substitute, did not make an
Mark Hughes' team are taking part in the Vodacom Challenge as part
of their pre-season tour, a competition which also includes the
In an evenly contested first half, the Pirates managed to get the
upper hand just four minutes before the break.
Ben Mee fouled Frank Olivier in the area and defender Lucas Thwala
converted the penalty, beating City's new goalkeeper Stuart Taylor.
The Pirates doubled their lead in the 56th minute thanks to
substitute Phenyo Mogale's long-range effort.
The game was played at a ground which will be used at next year's
Big-spending City will now be looking to bounce back in their next
match against the Kaizer Chiefs on Tuesday, where supporters will be
hoping to see some of the new signings make their debuts.
Manchester City: Taylor, Zabaleta, Ben Haim, Mee, Garrido, Weiss,
Ireland (De Jong 70), Johnson (Vidal h-t), Petrov, Bojinov (Caicedo
70), Bellamy (Benjani h-t).
Nielsen, McGivern, SWeeP, Barry
1860 Munich 1 Manchester City 1
The Kids are Alright
Saturday 11th July 2009 :
Mark Hughes turned to City's Academy graduates
for the opening pre-season match in Germany and his ambitious Boy
Blues rose to the occasion as they held 1860 Munich to a deserved
Valeri Bojinov, looking leaner and meaner after his troubles last
season, came up with City's equaliser on the hour after Stuart
Taylor had been beaten on his debut by a brilliant free kick from
But it was the young men nurtured in Jim Cassell's famed school of
science at Platt Lane who repeatedly took the eye and gave the
German second division outfit a hard time in tonight's friendly at
The Blues will not play at a more picturesque ground this or any
other season, surrounded by forested mountains in the heart of
Bavaria. Only Julie Andrews and the Von Trapps were missing, but
Hughes' kids were on song.
Seven of the starting line-up were Academy-bred, with a youthful
back four of Kieran Trippier, Clayton McDonald, Ben Mee and Ryan
McGovern looking good enough to force their way into many a senior
side as a unit.
Trippier's understanding down the right flank with Vlad Weiss,
already handed his Premier League debut by City boss Hughes, was one
of the highlights of a team performance that carried so much promise
for the future.
The introduction of Donal McDermott, Javan Vidal and Paul Marshall
after the break only served to lower the average age, and Sholeum
Logan later replaced Mee after the intelligent defender was hurt in
a clash of heads.
Pablo Zabaleta was the able older hand in midfield while Bulgaria
pair Boji and Martin Petrov, who performed World Cup duties during
the summer, nevertheless worked hard to keep the German defence on
Munich, who had the smattering of City fans in nostalgic mood by
fielding a player called Rosler, took the lead with a 39th-minute
free kick after the lively Pappas went down under a challenge from
But Bojinov made sure City did not have to start their campaign with
an undeserved defeat by showing a true striker's knack by turning
and firing beyond the Munich keeper after receiving a fine pass from
City's starting line-up: Taylor; Trippier, McDonald, Mee, McGovern;
Weiss, Zabaleta, Clayton, Petrov; Ireland; Bojinov.
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